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Yes. Seattle City Council adopted residential and commercial water rates for 2016 and 2017 on May 4, 2015.
As of January 1, 2016, the average increase is 2.7% for residential and commercial customers. Actual bill increases will vary by customer. For detailed rate schedules, see the Water Rates links at the bottom of this page.
Much of the increase is because of continued infrastructure and capital needs of the utility, including water main rehabilitation, seismic retrofitting of reservoirs, and utility related work around transportation projects (such as the Alaskan Way Viaduct).
Rates for wholesale customers will change in accordance with wholesale contracts, which define cost of service methodologies that determine how much the water system can charge for wholesale service.
This is a fixed monthly fee, determined by the size of the water meter installed at your property. This fee helps more equitably distribute service costs that are not related to the volume of water used, such as bill production, customer service, water service inspections, and meter reading, maintenance and replacement. Most single family residences are served by ¾" meters, which are the smallest and least expensive available.
Water rates pay for the costs of storing, treating, and piping water from the Tolt and Cedar Watersheds, as well as work to minimize environmental impacts of the water system. They also pay for customer service and security costs, the administrative costs of running the water system, and various taxes imposed on the water system.
A small portion of the Department's direct service area lies outside City limits and higher rates are charged there to reflect higher costs of serving this area.
Reasons for these higher costs include:
In 1999, Shoreline began charging Seattle Public Utilities a franchise fee on water service SPU provides to Shoreline residents. This fee increases SPU’s costs of serving Shoreline customers, and SPU is passing this cost on directly to them as a separate item on their bills. All of the revenues from this fee are paid to the City of Shoreline. Neither Seattle nor any water customer outside of Shoreline receives a benefit from this fee.
Since 1963 Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has been providing water service to about 400 retail customers that are now located within the incorporated boundaries of the City of Lake Forest Park. In 2009, the City of Lake Forest Park signed a franchise agreement from SPU which formalized the terms under which SPU operates in the City’s rights-of-way and included a requirement that SPU collect a franchise fee from its residents through the water utility bills and pay it to the City of Lake Forest Park. Neither Seattle nor any water customer outside of Lake Forest Park receives a benefit from this fee. The new water rates for Lake Forest Park residential and commercial customers took effect November 1, 2009.
While Seattle has plenty of water in the winter, our water system is limited by its ability to supply water during the summer when demand is at its highest and rainfall is at its lowest. At that time, we depend on storage in our mountain reservoirs to meet demand while leaving enough water in the rivers for fish. The higher summer rate encourages customers to use water prudently at a time when demand is high and rainfall is low.
Qualified low-income/elderly/disabled customers receive a 50 percent discount on their water bill. See Payment Assistance for more information.
For most households, the vast majority of water is used indoors. You can get the biggest water savings in your home by installing efficient fixtures and fixing leaks. The choices you make in your yard can also save you money on your water bill.
Visit the Saving Water Partnership or call (206) 684-SAVE (7283) for advice on saving water, and find out if you are eligible for rebates on water efficient appliances and improvements to irrigation systems.
You may call SPU Customer Service at (206) 684-3000.